Original German WWII Unissued RAD Labor Force Athletic Shorts by Escher, Steiner & Co

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Unity and disunity may be constant themes of German history, but in sports and physical culture Germans have long been well organized. In the early 19th century, coincident with the rise of nationalism, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, considered the “father of gymnastics,” founded the turnverein, a gymnastics club, and invented several of the disciplines that are now part of the Olympic gymnastics program. At the same time, Johann Christoph Friedrich GutsMuths initiated school programs that helped bring physical education to the forefront of German education. Ideals of health—Gesund—and athletic prowess became important components of the German conception of self. These ideals were later critical to the NSDAP conception of the ideal German.

The Reichsarbeitsdienst, (“RAD” National Labor Service), dates back, at least, to 1929 with the formation of the AAD, Anhalt Arbeitsdienst, (Anhalt Labor Service), and the FAD-B, Freiwilligen Arbeitsdienst-Bayern, (Volunteer Labor Service Bavaria). Shortly after AH’s appointment as Chancellor, the NSDAP consolidated these, and other labor organizations into the NSAD, Nationalsozialist Arbeitsdienst, (National Socialist Labor Service), under the control of Reichsarbeitsführer Konstatin Hierl. On June 26th 1935 the NSAD was re-designated RAD. In April 1934 Hierl developed a uniform for all NSAD personnel which continued to be worn after the re-designation to RAD.

These unissued light brown, cotton sports shorts feature an adjustable tie-string at the waist. The interior of the waistband is maker marked with ESCHER, STEINER & CO. ZSCHORLAU 538 I. There is also a rectangular stamp that may indicate which RAD unit it was intended for. The upper right has a lovely RAD insignia consisting of a narrow black outer border stripe with a white inner border stripe encompassing a red base with a central white circular field featuring a black spade head flanked by two diagonally angled sheaths of wheat.

These shorts are a lovely unissued example and show signs of absolutely no wear or staining. These are a rather rare item and the first we have ever had here at IMA!

Comes more than ready for further research and display.

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